The Web.com Tour’s Bahamas Great Abaco Classic was heading towards an exciting conclusion on Wednesday evening – and then things kicked off.
Aussie pro Rhein Gibson headed to the 18th needing a birdie to force a play-off with Adam Svensson but, with his second shot, he found a hazard.
His ball was eventually found and he took a drop, but he was assessed an additional penalty because an official ruled his temporary caddie, Brandon Davis, picked it up while it was still in play.
Angry at the caddie’s mistake, Gibson chipped his fifth shot onto the green and, as he grabbed his putter, he threw the headcover forcefully at Davis’ chest.
The mistake knocked Gibson from a two-way tie for second with Sungjae Im to solo third – costing him approximately $15,000.
He took to Twitter afterwards to issue this apology to Davis.
Unfortunately my caddy was involved with a ruling on the 18th that caused me to fall from t2 to 3rd. My actions were less then professional and I apologize to my caddy and those that took offense to my behaviors.— Rhein Gibson (@RheinGibson55) January 24, 2018
However, Davis – who also caddied for Gibson last week – was on Twitter too, insisting that the error was the mistake of the rules official Jim Duncan, the vice president of rules, competitions and administration for the Web.com Tour.
Here’s his explanation:
I was his caddy and did nothing wrong, here's the proof:— Brandon Davis (@bdavistwo) January 25, 2018
A.There is no penalty under Rule 18-2 if there was no doubt or it was reasonable to assume from the player's actions or statements that he would make his next stroke from outside the water hazard. https://t.co/W8dQHmAkeK
Here's exactly what happened...Ball was dead underneath two rocks and I told you about it and you said "fuck" and turned around stopped looking and walked back to the bag. The tour official actually found the unhittable ball. I then went over and quickly retrieved it.— Brandon Davis (@bdavistwo) January 25, 2018
100% fact. https://t.co/W8dQHmAkeK
Yes, the ball was unplayable. He walked over and saw it and walked off, the official was right there, we'd already determined where it crossed. So I picked it up and the official called a penalty which was an incorrect ruling. Penalty bumped him from T-2 to 3rd solo.— Brandon Davis (@bdavistwo) January 25, 2018
But, in an interview with Golf Channel, rules official Duncan strongly disputed this.
"Contrary to what Brandon said, I did not find the ball," he said. "(Gibson) was kind of looking in the high grass or whatever, and I turned around and said to Rhein that we had found the ball. And the caddie had actually sort of gotten behind me, and Rhein's now walking toward me, and I turn around and that's when (Davis) picked the ball up.
"And before I can even say a word, now Rhein goes, 'Well, I guess I can't play it now.'"
The penalty was given under Rule 18-2, which says a shot will be added if a caddie moves a ball while at rest without a player's authority.
"I know when I see guys that I'd say are veteran caddies in a search like this, I can picture a few people and they've got the bag down and they let the player decide everything," he continued.
"Touching a player's ball, or doing acts that that the player normally does in the foundation of golf, there's a lot of things that can actually get the player in trouble that the caddie does."
One thing’s for sure though, caddie Davis won’t be working with Gibson again anytime soon.
I’m that caddy man! 71 holes of flawless caddying at look what it gets me.... in other news, anyone need a looper next week??— Brandon Davis (@bdavistwo) January 24, 2018
He fired me with the headcover throw.— Brandon Davis (@bdavistwo) January 25, 2018